Africa: The Green Climate/Corporate Fund and the Covert Battle for the 'Heart and Soul' of Climate Finance

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In response, as the Times of India reports, an unusual coalition called the 'Like Minded Developing Countries on Climate Change' is emerging, consisting of China, India, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia, Argentina and about three dozen other developing countries. Their stated aim is to fight for equity and CBDR's central role in climate negotiations.

As the above indicates, the Green Climate Fund will be one of many places where their work will be cut out for them, and hopefully others will help fight to preserve a more noble and equitable development of the GCF.

The potentially worrying involvement of the private sector in the GCF does not end there, however. Many from developed countries are pushing for direct and indirect access to the GCF for private sector companies.

According to Janet Redman of the Institute for Policy Studies, if such a proposal goes ahead "Shell and Exxon could get access to [the fund to] build a massive wind farm in Mexico that powers Walmart"[2]. This is a worrying trend for developing countries who may have wanted to use the fund to bolster national attempts to respond to climate change.

Whether that problem will be acquiesced by the 'no objections' principle set to be enshrined in the GCF, which allows countries to halt projects if they are seen to be contrary to their national interests, depends on how such a principle is defined going into the future, an important point of concern. What is considerably more worrying is revealed if we consider what the struggle for the nature of the GCF could mean for adaptation funding.

In line with the privatization of the fund some are calling for the fund to be structured and operated similarly to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) under the World Bank. This has potentially dismal results for the supposed balance of the GCF between adaptation and mitigation interests, for if we look to the CIF we can see that from 2006-2011 only 2.4% of its funds went to medium or small sized companies, only some of which operate in the adaptation sphere. The majority of the remainder went to large scale mitigation projects, which, although important, does not do much to promote climate resilient development and thus fulfil the adaptation side of the equation.

Perhaps in order to protest the GCF following in the CIF's large-scale mitigation footsteps one might appeal to the governing instrument of the GCF which states that the GCF should be balanced between needs for mitigation and adaptation. However, just what would qualify as a 'balance' is difficult to tell, as the term is ambiguous - an ambiguity which will most likely be hotly contested, as most ambiguities are within UN spaces.

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